Nerris. Why, shall wee turne to men? Portia. Fie, what a questions that? If thou wert nere a lewd interpreter: But come, Ile tell thee all my whole deuice When I am in my coach, which stayes for vs At the Parke gate; and therefore haste away, For we must measure twentie miles to day.


Enter Clowne and Iessica.

Clown. Yes truly; for looke you, the sinnes of the Father are to be laid vpon the children, therefore I promise you, I feare you, I was alwaies plaine with you, and so now I speake my agitation of the matter: therfore be of good cheere, for truly I thinke you are damn'd, there is but one hope in it that can doe you anie good, and that is but a kinde of bastard hope neither

Iessica. And what hope is that I pray thee? Clow. Marrie you may partlie hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Iewes daughter

Ies. That were a kinde of bastard hope indeed, so the sins of my mother should be visited vpon me

Clow. Truly then I feare you are damned both by father and mother: thus when I shun Scilla your father, I fall into Charibdis your mother; well, you are gone both waies

Ies. I shall be sau'd by my husband, he hath made me a Christian

Clow. Truly the more to blame he, we were Christians enow before, e'ne as many as could wel liue one by another: this making of Christians will raise the price of Hogs, if wee grow all to be porke-eaters, wee shall not shortlie haue a rasher on the coales for money. Enter Lorenzo.

Ies. Ile tell my husband Lancelet what you say, heere he comes

Loren. I shall grow iealous of you shortly Lancelet, if you thus get my wife into corners? Ies. Nay, you need not feare vs Lorenzo, Launcelet and I are out, he tells me flatly there is no mercy for mee in heauen, because I am a Iewes daughter: and hee saies you are no good member of the common wealth, for in conuerting Iewes to Christians, you raise the price of Porke

Loren. I shall answere that better to the Commonwealth, than you can the getting vp of the Negroes bellie: the Moore is with childe by you Launcelet? Clow. It is much that the Moore should be more then reason: but if she be lesse then an honest woman, shee is indeed more then I tooke her for

Loren. How euerie foole can play vpon the word, I thinke the best grace of witte will shortly turne into silence, and discourse grow commendable in none onely but Parrats: goe in sirra, bid them prepare for dinner? Clow. That is done sir, they haue all stomacks? Loren. Goodly Lord, what a witte-snapper are you, then bid them prepare dinner

Clow. That is done to sir, onely couer is the word

Loren. Will you couer than sir? Clow. Not so sir neither, I know my dutie

Loren. Yet more quarreling with occasion, wilt thou shew the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant; I pray thee vnderstand a plaine man in his plaine meaning: goe to thy fellowes, bid them couer the table, serue in the meat, and we will come in to dinner

Clow. For the table sir, it shall be seru'd in, for the meat sir, it shall bee couered, for your comming in to dinner sir, why let it be as humors and conceits shall gouerne.

Exit Clowne.

Lor. O deare discretion, how his words are suted, The foole hath planted in his memory An Armie of good words, and I doe know A many fooles that stand in better place, Garnisht like him, that for a tricksie word Defie the matter: how cheer'st thou Iessica, And now good sweet say thy opinion, How dost thou like the Lord Bassiano's wife? Iessi. Past all expressing, it is very meete The Lord Bassanio liue an vpright life For hauing such a blessing in his Lady, He findes the ioyes of heauen heere on earth, And if on earth he doe not meane it, it Is reason he should neuer come to heauen? Why, if two gods should play some heauenly match, And on the wager lay two earthly women, And Portia one: there must be something else Paund with the other, for the poore rude world Hath not her fellow

Loren. Euen such a husband Hast thou of me, as she is for a wife

Ies. Nay, but aske my opinion to of that? Lor. I will anone, first let vs goe to dinner? Ies. Nay, let me praise you while I haue a stomacke? Lor. No pray thee, let it serue for table talke, Then how som ere thou speakst 'mong other things, I shall digest it? Iessi. Well, Ile set you forth.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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